BOULDER, Colo. — Before the Colorado Buffaloes face their biggest test of the 2023 football season so far, head coach Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders addressed the death threats against Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn.
Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell said on Monday that Blackburn has been receiving death threats since his late hit that hospitalized Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter. According to media reports, Hunter suffered a lacerated liver and will be out for a few weeks.
Blackburn drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Saturday night for the blow he delivered to Hunter's midsection on a deep pass in the first quarter of the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
"Henry Blackburn is a good player who played a phenomenal game. He made a tremendous hit on Travis on the sideline. You can call it dirty, you can call it he was just playing the game of football," Sanders said Tuesday. "But whatever it was it does not constitute that he should be receiving death threats.
"This is still a young man that's trying to make it in life, a guy that's trying to live his dream and hopefully graduate with honors or a degree, committed to excellence and go to the NFL," Sanders said. "He does not deserve a death threat over a game. At the end of the day, this is a game. Someone must win, someone must lose. Everyone continues their life the next day.
"Very unfortunate, I'm saddened if any of our fans are on the other side of those threats. I would hope and pray not," Sanders said. "That kid was just playing the best of his ability, and he made a mistake. I forgive him, our team forgives him, Travis has forgiven him, let's move on. But that kid does not deserve that.
"Let's pray for that kid. That's absurd people to be threatening him," Sanders said. "I don't mind getting death threats, I get them every week, but a kid, that's not good."
Norvell said that Blackburn, who's from Boulder, and his family had their address posted on social media. He added that police have been involved due to the serious nature of the threats.
“It’s sad that that’s the state of the world we live in. It’s a football game. Let’s not make it more than that,” Norvell said. "We don't want anyone to get hurt. We don’t coach that kind of football. I’ve been talking to Henry about that — I talked to him last night and I talked to him today.
"This kid should be worried about going to school and getting ready to play football. He shouldn’t be worried about that kind of nonsense,” Norvell added.
Sanders and the 19th-ranked Buffs travel to Eugene on Saturday to face the 10th-ranked Oregon Ducks. Saturday's matchup serves as Sanders’ first conference contest in the Pac-12 Conference.
The Colorado football team is the biggest story in sports and will be showcased on national television for a fourth straight week. The Week 4 game will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. MT and will be televised nationally on ABC.
The Buffaloes are ranked 19th in the latest Associated Press college football poll after starting the season with victories over TCU, Nebraska and Colorado State.
Colorado (3-0) rallied to beat Colorado State 43-35 early Sunday in front of a full house in Boulder packed with celebrities.
CU trailed for much of the game, but Buffs quarterback Shedeur Sanders threw a TD pass to Michael Harrison in the second overtime for the win after leading a 98-yard drive to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
ESPN's "College GameDay" and FOX's "Big Noon Kickoff" pregame shows were each in Boulder for the first Rocky Mountain Showdown since 2019, which aired on ESPN.
Next week, the Buffaloes will host the University of Southern California Trojans on Saturday, Sept. 30. The fifth-ranked USC Trojans are led by Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.
The Pac-12 announced Monday that that game will kickoff at 10 a.m. MT on Sept. 30 and will be televised nationally on FOX. It will be the third time in the first five games that CU is featured in FOX's noon time slot.
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